|The Labyrinth at Lands End, San Francisco
The 8th planet from the sun is Neptune, named for the Roman God of the Sea. It is the 4th largest planet in the solar system. 57 Earths would fit inside its mass.
|An image of the planet Neptune from NASA Voyager
|The Neptune Fountain in Piazza Navona, Rome
|Mortar fills the forms in the loop from the 9th to the 8th circuit
Sadly when I did some research on Puget Sound starfish I found out that populations are dying off at an alarming rate only recently. You can read about this at http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyintertidal/data-products/sea-star-wasting/index.html
Starfish come in a wide range of colors befitting of those in the Medicine Wheel in the Labyrinth.
I'm going to stick with the 5 legged variety as it would be very difficult to make a 24 legged one.
|A simple 5 legged sea star in the transition area between green and pink stones
|Terri and Terry in forest colors
|Surf Scoters have been gathering along Rockaway Beach
|A fireplace is all that remains of an old house on Eagle Harbor
A group of four women came by. They got excited by the idea that I would make them Starfish and wanted to know how many they would get. I was only able to make 3 with what was available in the pink area I was working in.
|Four friends visiting the site
|Veined Bedrock and Beach Rock
|A blue and red rowboat on South Beach
|Cindy and Pat
|Bonnie, Annie, and John in front of where I am making their Starfish
|Katherine and her Starfish
Later a man named Rick came to visit and told me that the boulder that is on the western side of the Labyrinth was placed there as a memorial to his Mother, Joy when the original labyrinth was installed in a meadow like lawn. The Stewartia tree, in full fall color behind the boulder was planted in her honor as well. I had no idea of this previously when I incorporated the boulder in to the cardinal points of the new design. I told him that I had dedicated the Ducks Fly Moon that is directly in front of the boulder to my Mom when I built it in honor of her 80th birthday. It feels serendipitous to have the two gifts to our Mothers unintentionally placed next to each other. Perhaps this stone would be a fitting place for others to honor their Mothers and Grandmothers by placing offerings or flowers. I would like to see the labyrinth used for a variety of rituals. I've conjured visions of groups chanting while sitting on the 8 stones at auspicious times of the year. A Circle Dance would be lovely on the Spring Equinox, or even a May Pole on Beltaine or May Day. I'd like to maybe do some kind of Summer Solstice event here next year.
|Rick sitting on a boulder dedicated to his Mother Joy
|Noah and the family dog
I'll probably leave a container out and a sign explaining what I am looking for over the winter while I'm gone. There is a large flat topped boulder to the left of the Labyrinth entrance that people can leave stones on until then.
I completed about 12 feet of mosaic today, working through the red and purple areas, which requires a lot of diligence to find enough stones in those colors in order to make my way from the south to the western cardinal points. Tomorrow I should be able to pass the half way point in the 8th circuit. There will be two loops into the 7th circuit at the West and Northern axis.
The sun is back out today, but I had insomnia so I am exhausted and hope I don't collapse on the site while I'm working with less than an hours sleep. I moved the forms and set the stones on either side of the Western cardinal points. It was a quiet day in the park. One man came by who lives on Rockaway Beach. I'm sorry I didn't take his picture because there was something special about the encounter. I told him I would make a Starfish for him if he rang the prayer wheel, which he did. I could see him through the trees as he was leaving and we waved at each other in recognition of his deed.
|Labyrinth Stone Gatherers
I don't have a television at home but there is one where I am staying and I finally turned it on for the first time. I ended up watching Public Broadcasting and saw an interesting story about how local municipalities are working on bio-swale technology to filter storm water from urban areas that otherwise can add significant pollution to Puget Sound. A underwater photographer came across an Seattle storm drain outflow pipe billowing a continuous column of black water, which when sampled and tested, killed fish fry (baby fish). When they filtered that water through a swale, enough toxins were removed from the water by sediments and plants that the fish fry lived. Disconnecting our downspouts and increasing the permeability of the pavements around our homes is one of the best ways to reduce our impact on water quality. Fix oil leaks on vehicles and don't use pesticides or herbicides or chemical fertilizers, and make sure that excess nutrients in gardens doesn't wash in to surface water. And don't pour toxic substances down storm drains. I once saw a maintenance person casting granular fertilizer on a landscaped slope along the Willamette River who was so careless that he was throwing fertilizer in the water. Maintenance crews and many gardeners could benefit from learning to be better stewards of the land in regards to the impacts they have.
I pick up garbage whenever I am at the beach, and even when I walk to my local store. I'm always recycling discarded plastic bottles tossed in the gutter, and have picked up literally thousands of cigarette butts to keep them from being washed out to sea. An Australian environmental organization once made the general estimate that some 4 trillion cigarette butts end up in our oceans every year.
|Cigarette butts on a flooded sidewalk
Conserve energy, and it doesn't need to be produced. The power plant doesn't need to generate electricity for a light that has been turned off. Leaving the door of the refrigerator open while you do other tasks in the kitchen uses a lot of electricity to cool it down again. This is the most energy consumptive appliance in most homes. Electricity is often produced by coal fired power plants that add an enormous amount of carbon to the atmosphere, and causes acid rain. Increasing acidity in our oceans is one of the biggest threats to sea life. The mining and transport of coal is also environmentally devastating. Nuclear power obviously has its issues, and hydroelectric power, one of the main sources of electricity in the Pacific Northwest is responsible for the devastation of what was once the largest salmon run in the world up the Columbia River. Some dams are being removed in the Pacific Northwest to restore dwindling salmon runs.
Take reusable grocery bags to the store. Every time you avoid getting another plastic bag is one less bag that might end up in the ocean. Grow and buy local organic food. Recycle. Use biodegradable soaps and cleaning products. Most importantly, how can we cut back on our driving? Be proactive and you will have made a change, rather than just talking about making them. The Sea is suffering because we aren't taking enough care in our personal lives.
If you live on the shoreline, make sure that your landscaping is suitable for maintaining good water quality. Many homes have a large lawn running right up to the sea walls. I can only imagine that fertilizing these lawns leaches directly in to the sea water only a couple of yards below. During really high tides the sea water can actually wash over the tops of the walls. Appropriate landscaping, which can actually enhance the coastal environment is an environmentally healthier option.
|Various types of landscapes front Rockaway Beach homes
There is an election coming up in November and on Bainbridge Island there is a candidate who is running who vehemently opposes the Shoreline Master Program because it requires limits on development and land use. The shores of the island are heavily developed with residential homes as the water views are highly desirable. The impact of building on the shoreline is great as there usually needs to be substantial amounts of fill, with bulkhead walls constructed frequently directly over the shore line itself. There is very little land left to be developed at this point, usually parcels that are more difficult to modify for building that will have greater impact. The shoreline plan is required by state mandates. Voting for a commissioner who opposes the plan usually means that this person is very much pro development without regard for the environment. Dick Haughan is that candidate from the research I have done on the internet. He is strongly opposed to the restrictions on the plan restricting the building of more private docks, land filling, and intrusive architecture. I don't live here, but his opponent Val Tollefson has stated that he would work to make the plan functional. It is clear in reading the plans guidelines that it is intended to protect the health and visual quality of the island's shorelines. An article on this issue can be seen at http://www.bainbridgereview.com/news/222876561.html
The seafood you buy also affects the health of our oceans. There seems to be a sushi restaurant on every corner these days. This has increased tuna consumption to the highest levels in history. Giant trawlers have made it possible to harvest greater numbers of fish to meet the demand with terrible consequences. Many are outfitted with satellite monitors that can locate remaining schools of fish. Tuna may very well become extinct in our lifetime. Billions of other fish are killed in the process every year, only to be discarded. Dolphins and whales are also a casualty of indiscriminate trawling. Our oceans are being stripped bare. Large fish now contain high levels of toxins such as mercury and should be eaten sparingly anyway, if at all. Consider buying smaller more sustainably harvested fish.
Shrimp is a good example of a seafood that can have devastating ecological impact in the methods it is farmed. Mangrove wetlands in many tropical countries have been destroyed by the development of shrimp farms. This photo, from the World Wildlife Fund is of a new shrimp farm on Mafia Island in the Indian Ocean, a part of the country of Tanzania's fabled Zanzibar region. When I looked it up I found that the island is touted as the finest diving in East Africa. The landscape surrounding the farm looks like it is pristine wilderness. The inexpensive frozen shrimp you buy at the store may very well come from a facility like this if it is imported. Read the packaging or ask the person in the fish shop where the seafood is sourced.
|A Shrimp farm on Mafia Island in the Indian Ocean obliterates the natural landscape
Why is it important to preserve our oceans? Read this and you will understand. http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1848433/the-ocean-is-broken
|A photo of Sharks Fins being prepared for the Taiwanese Market to be made in to soup
Now that I have totally bummed you out, consider it an honor to be a Steward of the Oceans. It truly matters.
Back at the site I reset the forms for today's work. The pallet of mortar I ordered still had not been delivered so Gregory drove to town and brought me 6 bags of mortar to keep me busy until it
arrived. A beautiful young buck deer walked around the labyrinth barely perturbed by our presence. The weather was so nice I had to take advantage of making as much progress as possible. I worked my way from orange in to black and then in to white in the north. It was a pretty quiet day with not many visitors until late in the afternoon.
A woman named Lynn came over to see what I was doing. She came to ring the Prayer Wheel because she said she had been in a bad mood. I told her I didn't hear it. She said thats because somebody was using a leaf blower nearby. They are so loud that they can totally destroy the peace of the park. If I was king I would ban them. I love the old fashioned rake and broom. Lynn loves stones and said that her bad mood had gone away being here. I made her a sweet little white starfish and she promised me she would bring me some stones for the Community circuit.
|Lynn visits the Labyrinth
Another woman I had met before came by next bearing gifts. She brought me a bag of assorted colors of beach glass she had collected from a place called Glass Beach near Port Townsend. The glass came from an old dump located on the shore. I placed several pieces of clear white glass in the area I had just finished at the loop on one side of the northern cardinal point of the labyrinth.
|A gift of beach glass
|A wonderful Dia de los Muertos cookie gifted to me
I had another hour of daylight so I drove to the boat ramp where I can reach the center of Rockaway Beach and collected 5 buckets of rock before it got too dark to see. A flock of Surf Scoters, Melanitta perspicllata were swimming along the shore line. Mount Rainier was colored pink by the sunset filtered through a heavy layer of Seattle's air pollution.
|Surf Scoters, with Mt. Rainier in the background
|A dead Fried Egg Jellyfish on Rockaway Beach
|The second loop from the 9th to the 8th circuit at the Northern cardinal point
Two young bucks came by twice today. They are eating all of the white mushrooms that have been growing in the fresh bark that was spread around the plantings when I first started working here.
|A pair of deer visiting the site
I didn't sleep well at all. Maybe those thin veils between worlds had something to do with it. So I had to drag myself down to the site in the morning. First I picked a bucket of dahlia flowers from the farm across the road, to use to decorate the cloud mosaic and center of the labyrinth. Then I went and mixed two bags of mortar to finish the 8th circuit and began setting the stones there. Jorunn, the woman who does gardening in the park came down and said that Ketil's stepson and his wife and their son were coming to see the labyrinth. They had just returned from Norway where they had attended Ketil's funeral. I had made clouds in the northerly direction and having finished the second loop there yesterday, the clouds were complete. I had planned to arrange the flowers around the clouds to honor the recent passing of my friend Lord and had dedicated the Clouds of Heaven to him, and Ketil, a Norwegian man who I never met. You can read about that in the essay before this one, "Pluto and the Four Elements".
So I finished my work and made starfish for Ketil's stepson and his wife while she and Jorunn arranged the flowers around the loops in the mosaic. I had planned on just using white there and placing the colored flowers around the center of the labyrinth but they told me that Ketil had always worn bright colors and loved purple, and that people who attended his memorial service in Norway were asked to wear bright colors in remembrance of him. So they mixed the colors together and shed some tears, and told me sweet stories. It was such a lovely closure to this phase of my work here, and totally unplanned. More serendipity.
When I return I plan to build the 7th circuit, dedicated to Uranus, the Greek God of the Sky.
|The 9th circuit, dedicated to the God Neptune and all Waters and the Seas
|River God of the Tiber at the Capitolino in Rome
Thanks for reading, Jeffrey